Owning a car is one of life’s necessities. You need it to get from home to work every day, and to get safely to any fun activities you have planned over the weekend. But it can be difficult to maintain your car, especially if you are not sure what, exactly, you should be doing.
If you drive one of the many pre-owned cars in South Africa, then you will need to keep these maintenance tips in mind. You can prevent your car from breaking down or having to be repaired as regularly if you follow the easy and efficient advice below.
Check your air filter
Many cars run into issues because their air filters have not been changed. Ideally, you should check and replace your air filter every 12 months or every 20 000 km, whichever comes first. Do not ignore this, as it could cause problems with the air conditioner in your car, which will mean that you are breathing in unhealthy air when driving.
You can get your air filter replaced by your mechanic in the comfort of a garage in just under 10 minutes. It is a relatively simple process but it is one which will keep your car running smoother for longer. You can also clean out the debris from your new filter by using compressed air. This will improve the life of the filter and ensure that it keeps running for longer.
Inspect fluids and tyre pressure regularly
One sure-fire way to keep your car running smoothly is to inspect the fluids and tyres on a regular basis. The fluids you will need to inspect include the oil, the transmission fluid, the water and the power steering fluid (if your car has power steering).
To check your oil levels, simply open the bonnet of your car after letting your engine cool down and pull out the oil dipstick. Clean it thoroughly and then put it in again. And then when you pull it out, you can clearly see the oil level and you will know when to change it. The tyre pressure should be equal in each tyre, and one way to check this is to go to a petrol station and ask the attendants to check for you.
Keep your car clean
Keeping your car clean does more than making it look nice. It also helps to remove chemicals that could cause rust and corrosion on the body of your car. Paint protects your car’s body panels from the elements but the underside is continually exposed to the elements, which is why you need to wash it carefully and on a regular basis.
Most pre-owned cars in South Africa do have drainage points so that water can drip out from the chassis, exhaust and suspension, but it is important to ensure that your car is cleaned more than once a year. Keeping your car clean will make it easier to spot any dents, rust and damage that might have been hidden by dirt, so be sure to do a full inspection before and after washing your car. If you do not have the space or equipment to clean a car, then you can take it to a car wash for a valet.
Check your battery
At some point in our lives as drivers, we have all had our car battery run out on us. We have been stranded on the side of the road, desperately trying to phone for help while others rush past us… all in all, it is not a pretty picture.
One way to avoid this and to keep your car running when you need it most is to check your battery on a regular basis. Many pre-owned cars in South Africa come with like-new batteries, but you should still check them to avoid any emergencies. Check for leakage or any mineral build up around it. Clean it with a battery cleaning brush or ask your petrol attendant to do this for you.
Keep windows and mirrors clear and functional
If you cannot see out of your car windows or mirrors, then you are a danger on the roads. You should always keep your windshield and side windows clean enough to see through them without any obstruction.
If there are any cracks in your windshield, take it to a repair centre so they can fix them professionally. Your mirrors should not have any marks on them that could obscure your vision, so be sure to wash them when you wash your car. Keeping your windows and mirrors clear and functional will ensure that you do not get into accidents and you will not have to replace them regularly (or at all).
Regular maintenance of your car is preventative and it does not have to be difficult to do. If you check your air filter, fluids and tyre pressure as regularly as possible, your car will run smoother for longer. Always remember to check your battery before a long road trip. Keeping your car clean can help to prevent rust and corrosion, and keeping your windows and mirrors clear will guarantee your safety on the road and save you on repair and replacement costs.